At first sight, for many well-meaning people, the two-states ‘solution’ would seem to be the most rational and just way of ending the humanitarian crisis in the Holy Land. To others, more committed to serving the economic and hegemonic interests of the great powers, the ‘two states’ proposition is a useful subterfuge.
The enterprise and purpose of annexation
Zionist expansionism is not confined to the West Bank. The Syrian Golan Heights are also militarily-Occupied by Israel, which has begun to claim sovereignty over them as well. Israel cites ‘security’ concerns when justifying the annexation, as it has done over every violation of international law and human rights it has committed, but the real motive behind the annexation was that Israel coveted the water and fertility. According to a BBC article, the Israeli-Occupied Syrian territory provides a third of Israel’s water supply, enabling the Zionist state to use the fertile, volcanic soil to “cultivate vineyards and orchards and to raise cattle”. Tourism is a thriving Israeli enterprise in the Syrian territory, which is now home to Israel’s only ski resort. As exemplified by its population control and armaments industries, when it comes to commerce and profit, Zionism’s hasbara screen lifts somewhat to reveal its true nature and purpose.
The Israeli Ministry of Tourism website, Goisrael, advertises the Syrian Golan Heights thus: “The Golan Heights, Israel’s mountainous northern region, is one of the most beautiful and most travelled parts of the country.” At the bottom of the page can be found the Ministry’s identification: “Copyright © Ministry of Tourism, Government of Israel. All Rights Reserved 2011”. In another instance of propaganda and profit from military Occupation, this official Israeli tourist website sells “The Cave of Machpelah in Hebron” to visitors as being “one of the holiest places in Israel”. It is extraordinary and preposterous that our politicians continue to have us believe that ‘negotiations’ with the Zionist regime, as part of the so-called peace process, can bring peace with justice for the Palestinian people. Israel has long ago decided that all the territory it governs militarily will remain under its rule. That Israel intends to continue its programme of creeping annexation is also abundantly clear.
Gaza – hiding the reality
Israel claims to have ‘withdrawn’ from Gaza although it continues to make military incursions into the blockaded territory, often with the aim of bulldozing crops and destroying agriculture. Palestinian fishing boats are under fire from Israeli warships almost every day. Not wanting the world to know the extent of its oppression of the Gaza Strip, on 9 February, Israel prevented a delegation from the European Parliament from entering Gaza. It was concerned that the delegation had intended both to assess the damage caused by the 2014 Israeli blitz on Gaza and investigate how much progress had been permitted with EU-funded reconstruction efforts. The head of the seven-member delegation, MEP Martina Anderson, commented, “the systematic denial by Israel of access to Gaza . . . raises questions: what does the Israeli government aim to hide . . .?” Israel has refused to allow European parliament access to Gaza since 2011 – so much for ‘withdrawal’! It claimed that its Operation Protective Edge blitz on Gaza, in July 2014, which killed at least 2,200 Palestinians, was carried out to stop rocket fire into Israel from Gaza. In reality, Israeli forces had actually been violating the ceasefire agreement in order to provoke the Palestinian Resistance. The same sad process continues right up to the present.
Gaza ceasefire violations
This year alone (up to and including 16 February) there have been 132 Gaza ceasefire violations – 1 Palestinian and 133 Israeli.
The lone Palestinian ceasefire violation, January 23: 11:30, Palestinian Resistance fighters opened fire on an Israeli military vehicle near al-Shuja’iya. Israeli forces returned fire. This was an armed attack by the Palestinian Resistance on an Israeli military target. All the Israeli ceasefire violations have been directed against civilians.
There are far too many Israeli ceasefire violations already this year to quote all of them here but half a dozen examples should suffice:
Air strike – death: Northern Gaza – 08:45, the Israeli Air Force launched air strikes on Beit Lahiya, killing one person: Musa Assad Abu Za’tar (31).
Israeli Navy hijacking – economic sabotage: Northern Gaza – 16:30, the Israeli Navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off al-Sudaniya, hijacked a fishing boat and took prisoner two fishermen: Basam Abu Rayala and Mohammad Al-Najjar.
Israeli Army attack – 4 wounded: Gaza – 14:00, Israeli forces positioned behind the Green Line fired live ammunition and stun and tear gas grenades at protesters in al-Shija’iya, Beit Lahiya and Jabaliya, wounding four people. There were three tear gas casualties.
Israeli Army attack – 2 dead – 2 wounded: Central Gaza – 14:00, Israeli forces positioned behind the Green Line opened fire on the al-Bureij refugee camp, killing two residents, Mohammad Adel Abu Zied (18) and Mohammad Majdi Quiteh (26). In addition, two people were wounded and there were several tear gas casualties.
Israeli Navy attack – abduction – hijacking – economic sabotage: Northern Gaza – 11:30, the Israeli Navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off al-Sudaniya, hijacked one of them and took prisoner four crew: Tariq Ala Zeid Bakr (17), Fahed Ziyad Hussein Bakr, Mohammad Saber Khader Bakr and Na’im Fahed Ziyad Bakr.
Israeli Navy attack – hijackings – economic sabotage: Northern Gaza – 07:00, the Israeli Navy opened fire on and hijacked two fishing boats off al-Sudaniya, and took prisoner four fishermen: Usayed Marwan Al-Sa’idi, Jihad Sid Sakakin, Mohammad Sa’id Al-Sa’di and Mahmoud Sa’id Al-Sa’di.
When Israel begins its next, almost inevitable, Gaza blitz it will, no doubt, be perpetrated following one of the occasional acts of retaliatory Palestinian Resistance, such as that of 23 January, cited above. The colossal and disproportionate weight of Israeli super-power armaments will once again descend upon the defenceless people of Gaza. Be sure that the Western news media will report that Israel is ‘responding’ and that it has a ‘right to defend itself’ – a right that Western governments and mainstream news media have never recognised as belonging also to the Palestinian people. Israeli ceasefire violations are seldom reported and the public will continue to be misled.
The imposition of Zionist rule over Palestine has resulted in the longest-lasting and largest refugee crisis in history. Israel denies, both in principle and in practice, the UN-recognised Palestinian refugees’ right of return (Resolution 194, passed on 11 December 1948 and reaffirmed every year since 1948). Indigenous Palestinians, both Muslim and Christian, are denied the right to return to their homes yet, in denying this human right, the Zionist state insists on an ideologically contrived ‘right of return’ to the Palestinian homeland for Jews, born anywhere in the world.
UNWRA recognises the first wave of Palestinian refugees as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” The number of Palestinian refugees has kept growing over the past 67 years and while, in 1950, the UN was recognising the needs of about 750,000 Palestinian refugees, today there are over 5 million Palestine refugees eligible for UNRWA services. This number amounts to 4 million 1948 refugees, plus another 1.5 million 1948 refugees not registered with the UN because they did not register or did not need assistance at the time they became refugees. The 1967 Israeli annexation of the West Bank and Gaza has resulted in a further 773,000 displaced persons and there are a further 263,000 of what are termed “internally displaced refugees”. This last category refers to the 32,000 Palestinians who left their homes but remained within the borders of what became Israel. These victims of Zionist racism have never been allowed to return to their homes and villages in Israel, even though they are Israeli citizens. Palestinian homes in Israel were, like the homes of other Palestinian refugees, either destroyed or given to Jews.
Following the 1948 violence and unilateral declaration of an Israeli state, more than 400 Palestinian villages and towns were destroyed or resettled by Jews in an attempt to erase any evidence of a non-Jewish history and culture in Palestine. Many of the Palestinian villages that had been destroyed were rebuilt, occupied by Jewish families and given Hebrew names.
The Israeli Army
Committed to Zionism, the Israeli Occupation Army is nevertheless undergoing change – that is, it is becoming more pro-settler. An article by Professor Padraig O’Malley of the University Massachusetts refers to the fact that the Israeli Army “. . . is increasingly a religious army, recruited from the settler community in the West Bank. The rate of settler recruitment to combat units in the IDF is 80 per cent higher than the rest of country. In 2011, two-thirds of draftees from West Bank settlements served in combat units, compared with 40 per cent from the rest of country.” The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that “there are now entire units of religious combat soldiers, many of them based in West Bank settlements where an implicit alliance between some settler communities and the IDF are commonplace.” Whereas stone-throwing by young Palestinians often ends with the death or critical wounding of the youngster, Israeli settler fanatics who stone Palestinian pedestrians and property do so with the support of the Israeli Army.
Many people know of the Zionist massacre of Deir Yassin villagers but this was by no means an isolated incident. Racist ideologies such as Zionism generate fanaticism and followers can too easily suspend any sense of humanity when it comes to dealing with the selected ‘other’. On 5 February this year, details of another horrific Israeli Army war crime have emerged, published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Printed in Hebrew, the article deals with the appalling, obscene, inhumanities perpetrated in 1948 in the Palestinian village of Al-Dawayima. An excerpt printed in English from the article makes for grim reading.
Any ideology that can lead to such inhumanities should be treated as it deserves and its proponents dealt with similarly. Palestinians living under Zionist military Occupation continue to face immense cruelty and injustice. In the West Bank and Jerusalem, the existence of cell-phone videos and watchful international human rights observers helps to place limits on the worst extremes that Zionism is capable of. But from time to time, for example in its intermittent Gaza blitzes, and in its cold-hearted relentless Gaza blockade, the ideology’s inhumanities reveal themselves for all the world to see.
A single state
Whatever the motive, the misleading and impractical two-state proposition has achieved nothing other than to play into the hands of Zionist expansionism. To wall Palestinians into a ‘state’ with no genuine sovereignty, particularly over borders, air space and defence, would plainly be entrapment. For decades, Zionism’s territorial ambitions have been realised in a process of gradual annexation and colonisation. For how long, therefore, could a Palestinian ‘state’ expect to be left unmolested to live in peace? So long as regimes dedicated to serving Zionist ideology remain in control of Israel, the Palestinian people will never have true sovereignty or security, let alone equality. On the Palestinian right of return a Christian refugee from Jerusalem, Tuma Hazou, now living in New Zealand, put it this way:
“If ever a Palestinian State gets established (and I doubt that) it will not be a truly sovereign one and Israel will most probably continue to occupy a buffer zone in the Jordan Valley of the West Bank, along the Jordan River. As such it would be a truncated mini-state especially if the Israeli settlement colonies’ blocks are annexed by Israel. Such an area could not house a large number of returning refugees. Mahmoud Abbas and others in the PA have declared that refugees in the ‘diaspora’ will be welcome to re-settle in the new state. There are some five million Palestinian refugees living beyond the West Bank and Gaza Strip. What percentage would be willing to resettle in the new state is anybody’s guess. Those most likely to be agreeable to settle in the new state are Palestinian refugees in the Lebanon and in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. The majority of Palestinian refugees will never give up their right of return to their original towns and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven out between 1947 and 1949. I certainly will never give up my inalienable right of return to Jerusalem and would not settle in any future so-called Palestinian State.”
Pandering to the rule of an inherently discriminatory ideology runs counter to the spirit and morality of the Fourth Geneva Convention. A just settlement and an end to military Occupation and segregation in Palestine require both a reunification of the land, so unjustly partitioned, and an end to discrimination. The declared equality of all citizens, regardless of their ethnicity or religion, would be a blessed relief for the tragically abandoned and long-suffering Palestinian people. For the rest of us, the triumph of reason and the passing of Zionism would be occasion for joy and affirmation of our shared humanity.